Arsenal need big characters and big personalities

It has long been said that Arsenal have been lacking any leaders on the pitch under Arsene Wenger for many many years, and his policy of simply giving the captains armband based on seniority in the squad usually means that the nominal captain has been someone that hardly ever plays, which is hardly encouraging leadership on the field.

The Arsenal legend Emmanuel Petit, is adamant that the Gunners need to bring in some leaders on the pitch, and he doesn’t think that we have any chance at all unless Emery is given a much larger transfer kitty than the numbers quoted in the media. Petit said: “When I hear about the amount of money Emery has to spend, I can’t believe it. Where are you going with £60 million? You’re going nowhere.

“With that amount of money, you can put the best manager in the world on the sideline and the team won’t change much. There is quality at the club, but not to match the likes of Manchester City or Liverpool. They need to bring in top quality players.

“I want to say to the board: can you just stop bringing in young players for one year? We’ve had enough of young players. The club is full of them. It’s been like this for 15 years now, we need something else.

“We need talented experienced players. We need big characters and big personalities. This is what has been missing. For me, £60 million is ridiculous.”

Well, to be fair, considering that Arsenal’s two first targets appear to be Lichtensteiner and Sokratis, it looks like we are going for big experienced defenders at least. Perhaps Arsenal have worked out Petit’s strategy for themselves?



  1. gotanidea says:

    He said talented experienced players, big characters and big personalities. That sounds like Ozil, Mkhitaryan, Welbeck, Aubameyang, Lacazette, Xhaka, Cech, Koscielny, Monreal and Mustafi to me

    200 million spent under Wenger, let’s see how those expensive players would work under Emery

    The turnover has to be quicker and more ruthless. If players like Xhaka, Ozil and Mustafi do not perform after two seasons, Arsenal should have replaced them before their third season

    1. GunnerJack says:

      None of them are big characters, nor do they have big personalities. Apart from that Welbeck is absolutely useless, Koscielny is probably finished and Xhaka and Mustafi are going to have to improve a lot under the new manager.
      About Mustafi: 1) he’s pretty quick 2) he ‘get’s stuck in’ as we used to say and 3) many times I’ve seen him throw his body in the way of an almost certain goal and make some excellent blocks. On the downside of course his judgement/positioning are sometimes disastrous. However I think this can be improved immensely by good coaching so I have not given up hope on him just yet.

      1. GB says:

        Very well reasoned and written critique of Mustafi, Gunner Jack. I agree with you. He’s saved us many times but some of his mistakes have been disastrous. Hopefully proper coaching willl help him.

    2. John0711 says:

      Stop talking ?about Xhaka he is THE worst midfielder we have ever signed no one will make him average let alone quality
      Gotanidea please put havnt in front of your name

  2. Eric Ogbe says:

    Bring in Doucoure from Watford and sort out our DM problem. Simple! But everything seem hard once it’s Arsenal ?

    1. Jay says:

      The lad had one good season in a mediocre team we need real DMs like veratti etc who will break up play and disperse the ball

      1. GUNNER OZ says:

        Veratti is not a DM, I would have Doucoure all day long. Look at his stat’s, tackles, interceptions and his work rate is phenomenal.

      2. Pussyorarsenal says:

        Can you afford verrati

    2. Ozziegunner says:

      Love your name; unfortunately there have been too many “pussies” at the Arsenal over the last few years. Arsenal needs investment in self motivated, assertive, strong and physical players with leadership ability.

    3. Diana says:

      Agreed. Doucoure is a really good option and actually works for the team. And i dont think we would need a lot to land him.

  3. Maks says:

    Maybe “character problem” came from Wenger’s respect for his players. Maybe he made an atmosphere of nice and calm football club who almost never fight above their current limit.
    I hope Emery will change that and footballers with character will have to emerge or leave for good.

    1. GunnerJack says:

      I think you’re right Maks. Wenger could not abide any discontent and so he cultivated an atmosphere of ‘no blame’, made easier because, unlike Man Utd for instance, he persisted in zonal marking so that no one could be blamed for anything! That’s why after the opposition have scored you see our defenders looking at each other in bewilderment, almost as if saying “Should I have marked him or you?” Pathetic.

      1. GunnerJack says:

        Just found this from our old enemy G Neville. It makes sense to me but maybe others have a different view:
        “I’m not saying zonal marking can’t work, but we’re talking about vagueness, grey areas. The reason we were told you go man marking is quite simple. There’s your man, it’s you versus him, go and win it. I think simplicity [is favoured] sometimes when you’ve got changing squads, foreign languages, new cultures, 24 players all changing, different zones, different people.
        “Zonal marking needs coaching, hours on the training pitch. I never did it so maybe that’s why I’m biased against it, but my view would be that accountability and simplicity is important.” PLEASE NOTICE THE WORD ‘ACCOUNTABILITY’ IN THAT LAST SENTENCE. Wenger hated that!

        1. Ozziegunner says:

          ??no conflict, no self or internal team motivation, no accountability.

  4. Juhi McLovin says:

    Rabiot £28m (last year)
    Torreira £22m (release clause)
    Leno/Rico £20m
    Soyncu £30m
    Dembele LOAN fee
    Lichtsteiner FREE

    About 110 millions, not very much huh?

    1. kev says:

      We do not need Rabiot.Hes not that much of a DM as people think.
      The signing we make at central midfield might really define our season because we need a DM and not a CM.I hope Sven and the like don’t make the wrong choice and go and sign another tippy tappy player.

      1. Ozziegunner says:

        ?Arsenal need mongrel.

      2. John Ibrahim says:

        Most fans are confuse with DM and B2B…..

    2. Adam Criniti says:

      Rabiot would be an upgrade on Xhaka, but can’t see his acquisition unless Arsenal deem the Swis international’s days are numbered.

      Sell Ramsey, Xhaka, Welbeck, Perez and Ospina
      $85M recouped

      Jonathen Tah–$30M
      Dembele—1 year loan ($5M)

      $115M spent.

      For a mere $30M in transfer fees(wages would obviously increase this number) Arsenal could field this starting 11 come August

      Auba/Laca (rotation)
      Saed (NM)…Tah…Mustafi..HB

      1. Dalinho says:

        I think we should keep Ramsey and Emery was talking about playing the 4141 system

        …………… aubameyung

        Forsberg and Torreira would be big signings but dembele seems more of a dream than reality but if we could pull this off we’d compete. If u take forsberg n dembele out of the line up our width is poor so we would still need to buy wide options coz I’m not a fan of mhki at all and iwobi needs to improve

        1. Dalinho says:

          Or more realistically

          Aubameyung…………….Mesut Ozil

    3. John0711 says:

      Torreiara is €22

  5. garfield says:

    Eric Ogbe you are a very smart man Abdoulaye doucoure it is probably in the top 10 best player in the Premier League just wait and see until he goes to Liverpool

  6. Break-on-through says:

    He’s on the nose with this one. I like the way he’s talking as if he’s after going into that boardroom before getting everything off his chest. Like the youngster remark, we’ve enough of them already, can you just let it go for a year could almost hear ..for f**k sake.

    Big characters, we need them alright. Lichtensteiner has the experience but is he gonna be a big character when he’s coming into a new dressing room and in a different country. Is he even gonna be a starter?. Same with the Greek lad. I hear he has a temper. He choked Aunotavic when they were teammates after Aunotavic wen’t down holding his head, Sokratis went to lift him up because it’s not nice seeing players hit the dirt like they’ve been toe to toe with Iron M Tyson. Aunotavic took offense to it so Sokratis grabbed him be the neck.

    I think Sokratis might be for Mavropanos benefit, both Greeks, also Mislintat seems to be getting the band back together. I hope Sokratis is for our squad depth, replacing Mert, because Dortmunds weakest area was defence even when we played them you could see they had similar issues to ourselves.

    These two wouldn’t be the type of players Petit is talking about. Petit is saying we need quality, and leadership, all in the same package. Also money, 60m will prob get us just the one demand player. I wouldn’t say that’s all we have to spend, Wham have 75m, Liv spent almost that on a DM, there’ll be uproar if that’s the lot. We’re looking at the Europa ordeal to become the norm if this is our total transfer kitty.

  7. barryglik says:

    It was the the club management
    that lacked character for
    the last ten years.
    Kroenke “trophies are too expensive”.
    Wenger 7m salary to make top 4.
    So many mediocre injury prone players on fat salaries
    totally protected from the need to win the PL.
    The fans living off the invincible memories talking about
    Bergkamp and Henri as if they were still playing.
    The owner is 74 the Board chairman is 75 the manager nearly 70.
    The club had entered retirement.
    Emery is 46 the same age as Wenger was when he came in.
    Emery won one Ligue one title the same as Wenger.
    Like Wenger he is a surprise choice.
    Hoping the energy and drive from the new manager
    will galvanize the players and Emery’s tactical nous
    will see the team begin a resurgent phase.

    1. GunnerJack says:

      Nicely put Baz

      1. Ozziegunner says:


  8. Ronny says:

    Yes we need a mix of experience and a vocal leader but not of the type that shirts responsibility and points fingers and flounces/sulks ie mustafi and ozil.
    Lichsteiner fits the bill but he must be briefed that this is a club and team that are in a fragile and healing phase. Encouragement and motivation is needed followed by leading by example not berating .

  9. Edward says:

    Its one thing to talk about qualities of players, its another thing entirely to bring them in. We’ve been here before so I hope the dark days have gone with Mr Arsene. Looking at arsenal team if today in my opinion some the player don’t even deserve to be there. We need a good goalie, 2 CBS and a proven DM to hit the top four again. Arsenal will however learn to close their deals on time, they often let it drag on.

  10. adi says:

    Wenger is the reason Giroud is now a player at Chelsea, or Henry ever winning champions league euth Barca. He is among the best. But there is so much you can do when a player has reach its mental capacity, but his skill cant catch up. Song, Hleb are among those players.

  11. RSH says:

    A lot of mentality problems should start to be remedied now that AW is gone. Unai will hold some of these players responsible and bad performances won’t be rewarded with automatic starts. Board just needs to give manager money to spend is all.

  12. John Wick says:

    I feel sorry for Unai Emery! Hes inherited the rubbish Wenger’s left behind! Mustafi, Iwobi, Welbeck, elneny, Akpom, Perez, Xhaka.. no proper defensive midfielder, a shambles of a defence.. not much quality in that Arsenal squad and no I don’t consider Wilshere, Ramsey quality not world class quality anyway! The game changers are probably Aubameyang, Lacazette and Mkh.. I won’t even mention Ozil for obvious reasons! What’s astonishing is that Liverpool are spending more money than Arsenal and spending it well, recent signings VVD, Salah, Fabinho and Keita.. those 4 would walk into that Arsenal team, they could limp or crawl on their hands and knees into our team. How on earth are we to compete with that ? Mislintat seems hellbent on recruiting the entire Dortmund team! He’s gonna have to broaden his horizons further than Dortmund to convince me! I’m not sold on Sokratis or Lichsteiner, ones pushing 30 the other is in the twilight years! Reports say our low transfer budget is down to heavy spending in recent windows but in recent windows we’ve made profits so to me that doesn’t add up! I even heard West ham’s budget is 75 million, are we to believe we can’t compete with west ham now? Questions seriously need to be asked at the next AST meeting if us fans are left feeling short changed again! I think Arsenal fans just accept the way the club is run rather than taking necessary action.. there is absolutely no way Arsenal have only got a 50 mil warchest and if by chance and that’s a big if the club are only sitting on 50 mil then Stan Kroenke need to think his long term plan.. other clubs are pulling away from Arsenal and before long the gap will be too big to close leaving Arsenal less profitable.. big clubs can’t get by on the cheap anymore, even the smaller clubs are spending and us Arsenal fans shouldn’t have to be paying ridiculous ticket prices to watch Alex Iwobi and Granit Xhaka.. to watch the 13 times European cup winners is a cheaper day out for goodness sake!

    1. John0711 says:

      Ridiculous comment fans are allowed an opinion, currently nothing has changed
      Some fans don’t want average I guess you’re not one of them

    2. De-Ra says:

      That does not mean we as fans should support the actions of the board ( from experience). Mr John gave his opinion, but i cant see yours regarding our board and their actions. You said who cares about the spendings of liverpool, man u and co….well to remind you, those clubs finished ahead of us last season! And yet they are still making positive moves in the transfer market. I for one would wait till the end of the transfer window, but judging from experience, regarding player transfers as Mr Unai is an exception-massive signing for me, i should probably not get my hopes up

      1. John Wick says:

        Well said John and De-Ra ?

    3. @John Wick
      I agree mate, the Liverpool signings have taken out all the steam I had for next season. Wenger really did a number on that Arsenal squad and what he is leaving behind for Emery is a broken pile of mediocre, overpaid players. Our frontline of Lacazette, Mkhitaryan and Ozil are on monstrous wages. Unfortunately they do not perform like the Liverpool front line. WE MUST SPLASH THE CASH if we are to catch up with Liverpool and the rest. Mustafi and Xhaka CANNOT be allowed to start the next season.

      1. John Wick says:

        @Quantic Dream me too mate, especially Fabinho and possibly fekir, they are already lethal in attack now adding steel to the midfield! We need a lot more than 50 mil to catch up that’s all I know ? agreed on Mustafi and Xhaka, I would love to see the pair sold but not sure who would want them.. personally I think both players would suit Serie A football a lot more than the premier league

  13. Jah son says:

    With all the hype and talk, still think the new coach must see how the current crop of players respond before making markee signings so for all of you going nuts on here behold your summer will be a long one to come.

  14. Innit says:

    We need players like Tony Adams and Viera. Leaders who can control and direct the team

  15. Jerrmy says:

    Choice of captain always baffled me.

    How in earth did BFG became one when he isnot playing and Kos who hardly make a sound, too?

    We need hardman, sorry to say, no more wimps. Captain who bring the team to whatever battle awaits. Beyond shouting mere instructions etc.

    1. Ozziegunner says:


  16. Smart_Gooner says:

    leo dubios RB (Free Transfer) from Nates competition for Bellerin ,
    Justin Kluivert 9Million as a winger .
    scorates defender 15
    Thiago Maia/LUCAS (22) TORREIRA as an DM
    Leno goalkeeper (25)
    Let wilshere go and promote Maitain-Miles

  17. Dalinho says:

    We are missing pace in wide areas more than anything that’s why Alexis looked like a god at Arsenal when he ran with the ball! We play down the middle to much then loose the ball and have no pace to recover either. The club is kinder backwards in every way from not investing and expecting investment to not have a balanced attack which is the best form of defence and so on, it’s time to stop cutting corners and do what every other club does!
    I just want some pace out wide and Lucas Torreira

  18. Bruno says:

    To me I think what is lacking at arsenal is competition,players like mustafi,chech, make some mistakes.If there would be a solution of bringing in more players who can substitute them, they can improve. But this tendency of saying I play number four, six, eight on the pitch, am the expert should end. Let players know that how ever much they play, can also be substituted.This will bring in some improvements on the team and on the pitch,,, see for the case of man. city, no one would ever know that Aguero can be substituted. see the performance that is at mancity due to pressure and competition. This should be introduced at arsenal, otherwise we shall be seeing other clubs taking the trophies as arsenal keeps on grooming young players.

  19. Diana says:

    I think the Captain’s armband has been reduced to a piece of cloth at Arsenal and no player, at least at the moment, would find it a priviledge or fight for it. And i think we dont have anyone who could be a captain anyway, realistically speaking

    We all know that the team has gone backwards and needs improvement. But lets also not forget guys, if we bring in too many players, that destabilise teams. What we need is to bring in one or two world class player, together with could-be-world-class ones. Then Unai Emery works on the pitch to bring in defensive organisation. Then every transfer window bring in two to three world class players. Honestly, we ALL want a team overhaul, except PEA. But thats not realistic. I want the world class player to be a DM, who also is a captain type leader, even if they are not very pacey. Because most of our problem with the current team is not necessarily because they all cant play. The work rate has been very low and it has NOT been demanded either. A lot of our players will definitely look better merely because more will be demanded from them.

    My biggest worry is thatwe will try to fix our problems through buying solutions, which means bring 5 average players instead of just 2 really good ones. Make Mustafi spend time building muscle and strength, Have Ozil train with the defense in preseason, tell Iwobi he is going on loan, tell PEA and Laca only one at atime can play(create competition), have shooting practice for Mhiky, positional and passing practice for Ramsey. Some of our players last season “they need some help” and most people missed that. That was a way of saying we need a coach who knows what they are doing.

    Yes i want to see a $250mil transfer kitty but that wont happen. I also here others say lets just sell. How many of our current crop, do people actually want to sign. The only reason there is even any interest in Wilshere is because he is free. Unless Cadiff City want experience.

    Literally like Kev said( hate im quoting him), our midfield (DM and CM) and Unai can save our season. Because we are not getting big bucks even though we know we need it.

    1. Enagic says:

      You right about that I was sick and tired to Walcott carry it
      Also 250mln kit doesn’t guarantee you anything that money is almost the same PSG spent on Neymar what we need is squad balance starting with experienced players in the Defense Germany and France have very good quality players who are unknown for kerem demarbay of Hoffenheim is way better than Ozil right now and we were linked with him also I really have big faith in Sven,Unai and Sanllehi to fix the problems I don’t care what Liverpool is buying and they have long way to go you could see when they played Madrid two different class and Madrid being a better one my biggest problem was Wenger who seemed not to know what’s was going on until Gazidis started to sell some players who were just quantity and eat up a big chunk of wages

      1. Ozziegunner says:


  20. Clive says:

    I don’t know why Arsenal is finding it difficult to fix this DM position.
    Most of d players mentioned here ar not proper DMs,Arsenal need a proper DM.
    Ogbe mentioned Dacoure from Watford every body is ignoring him. but am afraid that’s what Arsenal needs.
    That guy is good he can fix our problem,that he plays for Watford does not mean he can’t do d job. Emery go for Dacoure and fix ur DM problem.

    1. Enagic says:

      There are good are unseen players who are better than him Sven might be looking at DM same as is doing with defense I am pretty sure Sven and Unai might coming with a surprise from Germany, France, Italy and Spain

      1. Ozziegunner says:

        Or EPL or lower leagues?

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